By Emilie Van Blarcom
Director: Yorgos Tsemberopoulos
O Ehthros Mou or The Enemy Within is a Greek thriller set in present day Athens. Directed by Yorgos Tsemberopoulos, the film depicts a violent robbery inflicted on an innocent family in the middle of the night. Kostas Stasinos (Manolis Mavromatakis), a local garden shop owner, is awakened by four men ransacking his home and shining flashlights in his face, their own faces covered with ski masks. He is zip-tied and gagged along with his wife, Rania (Maria Zorba), son Andreas (Ilias Moulas), and daughter Louiza (Ariadni Kavalierou). As Kostas struggles to get free, he witnesses his wife being beaten and his daughter being sexually abused in the room over.
The assailants leave, stealing the family’s car as their getaway vehicle. With the majority of their valuable belongings taken, the family is forced to pick their lives back up and move forward, trying to forget that it happened. Later, Kostas is called over by his neighbour, Sotiris (Yiorgos Gallos), who witnessed the men approaching the Stasinos house over his security cameras. While the family wants to put the whole thing behind them, Kostas finds out the identity of the man that hurt his family and can’t seem to shake the feeling that he needs to track the man down.
Tsemberopoulos introduces themes of justice and injustice, and the idea that every human has the potential to embody evil. The film is shot with minimal lighting and embodies a generally dark mood. The silence that lingers between character dialogue creates a disturbing and uncomfortable feeling, as do the aggressive action scenes portrayed throughout the movie. Many close-ups are used to capture the character’s deepest emotions, especially Louiza’s as she is trying to cope with the aftermath of the abuse. Kostas battles between the hate he feels in his heart towards the criminal and his progressive morals. It is emphasized throughout the film that he is against the death penalty and he is portrayed as a very passive man. The film sympathizes with the Stasinos family throughout the first half, but then takes a turn at the midpoint, with an unexpected twist in Kostas’ personality. The question remains throughout: Should he stay true to his progressive self or get revenge on the man who changed his family’s life forever?
The infamous law of retaliation, ‘an eye for an eye’, plays a major role in the plot of the film and it explores how revenge always comes full-circle. The power of gang violence and fear consume the town where Kostas and his family live. On another note, The Enemy Within plays with the political issues in Athens and touches upon bribery within the government. This affects a morally demolished man that used to be a crutch for his family and now struggles to return to normalcy. Tsemberopoulos conveys the extent a man will go to for his family, and how love can drive someone to commit even the most violent of acts.